We often assume that gospel stories are the entry level materials of faith – often reserved for children and first believers. This would be wrong. I propose that the greatest instruction for church leaders are held in Jesus’ words. We might want to look at them again through leadership eyes.
#JesusStories: Luke 4 records a day when Jesus walked into a synagogue and asked if they would permit him to do the reading that day from the prophet Isaiah. While all eyes were upon him, he read this prophecy, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then after a long pause while everyones eyes were fixed upon him, he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Wow, I would have love to have been there. This was no normal day at synagogue. It was the formal announcement of something new happening on earth – what Paul called ‘The Day of Salvation’. Jesus made it clear in that moment what the world should expect from him going forward. Isaiah’s forecasted list would now become the repeating ‘Works’ that Jesus would use to birth the inbreaking Kingdom of God upon the earth. I am taken this morning with the line “preach the good news to the poor.” Most preaching today in America is done to the middle and upperclass people who have been listening to scriptural teaching every week for decades. The lower-third of our population is seldom included. Sad but true. Preaching has become an art-form for the ‘already gathered’ to the exclusion of the ‘not yets’. But Isaiah predicted, and Jesus affirmed that preaching to the ‘not-yets’ and the isolated would be a cornerstone of his regular activity. When John’s disciples were sent to ask Jesus if he was really the Messiah, he sent them back to report that the poor are being preached to; that was the only evidence John would need. This is potent information for Christian leaders today. An unexplainable anointing begins to flow upon any ministry and church that finds a way, any way, to preach the good news to the poor and the ‘not yets’ – it changes everything in that church. Here is the truth of it: We too can walk in a new anointing, preach powerfully to the poor, heal those who are broken in all kinds of ways, rescue our neighbors from the strongman’s oppressions, and to make the announcement that there is no time like the present to receive Jesus’ strength in your life. I honestly wonder if recommitting to these ‘Works of Christ’ is the fastest way for any leader, any ministry, or any church to regain their traction?
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “To oppose the gospel of Jesus is like hitting jello with a sledge hammer – it splatters all over the walls in four directions.” -The Anonymous Theologian. (Note: Dinner Churches thrive in the splattering gospel – especially after evil has done its worst to suppress, repress, and oppress)
Blessings upon your work for the frontlines of the Gospel,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.